James P. "Pat" Fitzgerald

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James Patrick (Pat) Fitzgerald, 87, of Elkader, passed away on Aug. 29, 2023, at the Strawberry Point Lutheran Home in Strawberry Point. Pat was born on Oct. 25, 1935, in Elma, the son of James and Mabel (Carroll) Fitzgerald.


Pat was raised on the family farm and attended Immaculate Conception High School in Elma, graduating on May 15, 1954. After graduation, he helped on the family farm and volunteered for the draft in September 1954. He was deployed in November 1954, and spent time in Camp Chaffee, Ark., San Juan, Puerto Rico and Fort Riley, Kansas, when he was honorably discharged in August 1956. In 2012, he was honored to be a guest on an Honor Flight from Dubuque to Washington, D.C., which he enjoyed. He received his Quilt of Valor in November 2018.


While on leave from the military a month prior to his discharge, he purchased a milk can route that picked up milk from dairymen. After two years, this turned into a successful career as the Surge Dairy Equipment Dealer for over 40 years. He became known as the “Surge man,” serving the tri-state area and retiring in August 1997.


On Sept. 5, 1960, Pat was united in marriage to the love of his life, Arlys Jean Croatt, at St. Luke’s Catholic Church in St. Lucas. They began their life together in Strawberry Point, where they resided for three years before settling in Elkader. For over 40 years they were blessed to work side by side in work and in life, noting the job was at times a 24/7 profession. Pat and Arlys enjoyed traveling to many different places after retirement and spent their winters in Lakeland, Fla., for 22 years.


Pat was a dedicated and proud husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather. He loved his family and supported them in any way he could. He was a hardworking and driven individual. He enjoyed spending time at his farms, golfing, traveling, biking, volunteering, gardening, yardwork and woodworking projects. He was a lifelong active member of St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Elkader, the Knights of Columbus, a Fourth Degree Knight, as well as a member of the American Legion.


Pat is survived by his wife of 63 years, Arlys, of Elkader; six children, Terry (Laura) Fitzgerald of West Des Moines, Mike (Kristin) Fitzgerald of Elkader, Patti (Jordan) Guyer of Cresco, Tim (Kathy) Fitzgerald of Farmington, Minn., Karen (Jeff) Saddoris of Ankeny and Kim (Brian) Reichter of Hawkeye; 17 grandchildren, Natalie Fitzgerald, Nathan (Sarah) Fitzgerald, Chelsea (Craig) Ohloff, Zachary Guyer, Megan (Cody) Carolan, Noah Guyer, Katrina (Phil) Glodowski, Kayla (Nate) Roush, Karissa and Trevin Fitzgerald, Connor (Claire) Saddoris, Katie, Jonathan and Macy Saddoris and Abby, Blake and Cael Reichter; six great-grandchildren, Isabella, Sophia and Rosalee Ohloff, Ada and Hazel Roush, Mason Carolan and Baby Glodowski in December 2023; siblings, Jerry (Donna) Fitzgerald of Elma, Mary Danielson of Rochester, Minn., and Joanne Huegel of Rochester, Minn.; two sisters-in-law, Mary Ellen Fitzgerald of Boscobel, Wis., and Jeanette Croatt of Hastings, Minn.; brother-in-law Gary (Jackie) Frana of Palm Springs, Calif.; and numerous nieces and nephews.


He was preceded in death by his parents, James and Mabel Fitzgerald; mother and father-in-law, Nick and Eleanor Croatt; two brothers, Eddie and Joe Fitzgerald; three brothers-in law, Leallan Croattt, Dan Huegel and Ralph Danielson; two sisters-in-law, Sharon Kay Frana and Lavonne Frickson; and nephew Todd Huegel.   


The family wishes to thank the Elkader Care Center, Strawberry Point Lutheran Home, St. Croix Hospice and MercyOne Elkader for all of their care.


Visitation will be Thursday, Sept. 14, 4 to 7 p.m., with a scripture service at 7 p.m., at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Elkader, and on Friday from 9:30 until 10:20 a.m., also at the church.


Mass of Christian Burial will be at 10:30 a.m. on Friday, Sept. 15, at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Elkader, with Rev. John Haugen officiating.


Interment will be at St. Joseph Catholic Cemetery, Elkader.


Leonard-Grau Funeral Home and Cremation Service is assisting the family.

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